PMSC ordered to cease dolomite ops in Cebu

PMSC ordered to cease dolomite ops in Cebu
SunStar File

THE Cebu Provincial Government has ordered the Philippine Mining Service Corp. (PMSC), located in Barangay Pugalo in the town of Alcoy, southern Cebu, to immediately cease all processing, selling and transporting of dolomite and associated quarry resources until further notice.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Memorandum 24-2024 on Friday, May 3, 2024, enforcing the Court of Appeals (CA) decision dated April 30, 2024 that favored the Provincial Government.

The decision upheld the validity of Garcia’s executive orders (EOs) in 2020 and 2023 against PMSC directing the mining firm to halt operations due to severe environmental damage and its alleged refusal to settle tax obligations to the provincial government.

The CA’s decision also nullified the Regional Trial Court Order dated April 26, 2023 granting the application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction in favor of PMSC, enjoining the enforcement of the EOs.

Garcia ordered the local government unit of Alcoy, the Philippine National Police, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to enforce the memorandum.

The Philippine Coast Guard was also tasked to stop the entry of any sea vessels to the PMSC pier until further notice.

Executive orders

In October 2020, the Office of the Governor issued an EO requiring PMSC to cease operations and the sale of dolomite, mineral deposits and other quarry resources after the mining firm refused to pay environmental taxes as mandated by Provincial Ordinance 2008-10 or the Tax Revenue Code of the Province.

Under Section 124 of the Tax Revenue Code, PMSC was required to pay a tax equivalent to 10 percent of the local fair market value per cubic meter of quarry resources, a requirement imposed on all mining and quarrying firms operating within the province’s jurisdiction.

According to the same revenue code, PMSC failed to obtain the Governor’s permit, a requirement for all businesses operating in Cebu.

In November 2020, the provincial government reported that PMSC owed it P1.9 billion in taxes, not yet including penalties and surcharges, for the volume of minerals it had sold since 2012.

The PMSC allegedly has unpaid taxes from 2008 to 2011.

The alleged violations of PMSC were revealed to the public at the height of the Dolomite Beach controversy that erupted amid the rehabilitation of Manila Bay in 2020, when it was discovered that the quarry materials used came from the town of Alcoy.

On Feb. 17, 2023, Garcia issued another EO against PMSC to cease all operations for the same violation of tax code and environmental laws.

However, PMSC defied the order by buying over 2.5 million metric tons of mineral resources extracted by Dolomite Mining Corp. (DMC), a mining leaseholder in Alcoy, from September 2020 to December 2022, according to a report from the official social media arm of the Cebu Provincial Government on March 11, 2024.

The report was based on the data provided by the MGB 7 to the provincial government.

Garcia then revoked DMC’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the provincial government that allowed the mining firm to extract dolomite in Alcoy for 25 years, with an expiration set for 2030.

In March 2024, Alcoy-based DMC submitted a letter of undertaking to the provincial government, pledging immediate compliance and cooperation with the province’s directive to cease dolomite ore sales to PMSC. (EHP)

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